Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Wrap-up

Ho ho ho, you rebel scum.  That's much better than that bah humbug stuff, isn't it?  So the new Star Wars movie is out and from the reviews it has gotten so far it sounds like a pretty good film, which is good as I like Star Wars.  I haven't seen it yet, but plan on doing so perhaps over the Christmas holiday.   How did you feel about the past films of 2017?   I thought they were okay.  I haven't seen everything, which is just the way I roll these days, I just don't get out that often to the cinema.  I did get out and see Blade Runner 2049, which I loved.  But for most of the time I'll just catch them with my Netflix sub.    Having said that there are still many more I want to watch. 
Some weeks back I watched the third part of the newly revamped Planet of the Ape franchise.  War for the Planet of the Apes, was exciting, immersive, and I enjoyed it.  That whole trilogy was worthwhile and could have gone wrong in so many ways.  I'm glad it was able to dovetail some of the early series of films into it.  I guess these type stories will always have some au courant subtext because evidently we're always going to be at war with somebody somewhere.   Sad, but true.   I really enjoyed the little girl that they found in this last adventure, and how they explained away why the humans in the apes world lost their ability to speak. 
I watched the Korean film, The Chaser this past year, and it was really good too.  It's about a serial killer in Korea, and if you enjoyed films like Silence of the Lambs or I Saw the Devil, well, you'd probably enjoy The Chaser as well.  It's a dark film as one might expect from such genre, but another reason I liked it was it went in unexpected directions and had characters that weren't cookie cutter.   So yeah, if you like that sort of thing, give it a shot.
The same thing is a bit true for Nocturnal Animals, not that it was about a serial killer, although it's closely related in some ways, being about murder.  It's one of those stories within a story movies, and I generally enjoy both Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal in roles.  If you are looking for another good story that makes you wonder where it's going, it's a good one.  As you can probably see, I wasn't too much into the whole super hero or blockbuster epics this year as much.  It's not that I don't like them, I still watch my fair share, but I've just been wanting to see something else. 
Although I did see Alien, Covenant.  I'm admittedly a big SF fan, and a big Alien fan, so I had to see it.  It's the SF law.  I enjoyed it for what it was, but I didn't feel it progressed the cannon that much, and there weren't any huge surprises either.  Michael Fassbender was good in it, which I expected.  But for what it was, another part in the Alien franchise, I could enjoy it on some level, although I think I enjoyed, Prometheus better.  I'd give it a B grade or something like that. 
Logan I was a little indifferent to.  I think some of this comes with age.  I'm not a teenager anymore, and although I enjoyed it for the action film it was, and for being a part of the X-Men franchise, however, the language in it was a turnoff.  I grew up in a time when Wolverine would get pissed off and say something like "Cripes."   If someone got the better of Conan, he'd exclaim something along the line of, "Crom."   I don't know if it was just for the ratings, but Logan sure used the F-word a lot in this film, which I thought was totally out of character, and silly/stupid as well--not to mention poor scripting.  Man, talk about a super hero NOT one to look up to.  Aside from that criticism, I did enjoy the film.
Now army medic, Desmond T. Doss would be the type hero to look up too.  Yes, it's a pretty propagandized film, but taken from a real story that was made into a bigger story for the film.  How it really all went down, who knows, but I did enjoy this tale that sort of took its queues from earlier Hollywood.  Perhaps a bit old fashion in the telling, but I enjoyed it. 
I really had high hopes and anticipation for Kong: Skull Island, but man, what a dumb picture.  I've never seen in a picture in recent memory that had characters doing such lamebrain stuff.   So there's a gigantic monster ape, and it's uprooting trees and boulders and throwing them at your oncoming helicopter and you don't turn around and fly away or at least say, "I think we need a bigger plane."  Wow, I thought the other monster in the film was ill-conceived too.  It just looked goofy to me.  I know the original King Kong is just going to be hard to beat, but this was a big let down for me. 
I've generally enjoyed Michael Keaton's performances in whatever vehicle he's in, so the same is true for The Founder.  He injects a lot of energy into his roles.  Again this film seems a bit old fashion perhaps in its direction and approach to the character, and the film does have it's flaws--the ending didn't totally work for me, but it's not like you didn't see it coming either.  However I assume it was taken from real history, so they can't hardly change that without making even more mistakes.   But up until that third act; I enjoyed the film. 
Wilson is probably going to be one of those comedies that either you're going to love or hate, or fall somewhere in-between like I did.  Again I generally like Woody Harrelson in his roles, and this one was pretty much made for him.  I'd read the Daniel Clowes' graphic novel from which it was adapted, and didn't know how they could capture it for the cinema, but they did a pretty good job.  A lot of the jokes are blue or bathroom humor as the poster above implies.  It's not quite Woody Allen and it's not quite Seth Rogen either, but falls somewhere in the middle perhaps.  It's sort of one of those films that's not exactly memorable, but I could watch it again just for a few laughs, and I've seen a lot worse.  If you need a laugh, give it a watch. 

So did you see any good films this year?  There are many more I want to see like the newest Star Wars movie,  Get Out, The Shape of Water,  Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,  Victoria & Abdul,  Wonder Woman,  Dunkirk,  The Darkest Hour,  and well, I'm sure many more.
Here are many other Top Ten list for 2017 if you care to take a look.  I'm sure there are quite a few for any particular taste.  On the smaller screen I also enjoyed the Netflix series, Stranger Things, and I'm curious about a series called, Dark.   I also enjoyed the Ken Burns series on The Vietnam War. 

One of my smaller endeavors below, on music. 



At 6:04 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

You’ve had a busy 2017 at the movies. Kong is the only one of that batch I’ve seen, and I had issues with it, too. I also like Amy Adams; I’ll give Nocturnal Animals a shot at some point.

It’s always interesting to read what artists of any kind have to say, given their different perspective from critics. They rarely pick the same favorites of their own work as critics do; usually their own favorites speak to them in some personal way having to do with their own lives.

At 12:10 AM, Blogger El Vox said...

Hey Richard, yes, I saw a pretty good batch of movies in 2017, and I didn't comment upon them all just hit the highlights of some of the ones I enjoyed. There may have been one or more of those too. Yes, the book, Listen To This! by Alan Reder & John Baxter is a good one if you are into that type thing. But if you enjoy searching for new things to listen to, or are just interested in what music other musicians find interesting, it's a good one.

At 9:18 PM, Blogger Roman J. Martel said...

Yeah I really enjoyed both Blade Runner and War for the Planet of the Apes too. Those new Apes movies are really excellent. I'm looking forward to revisiting them all at home again.

I heard so many mixed things about Alien Covenant that I ended up skipping it. I am one of the few that like Prometheus, so I was disappointed that they dropped that whole story angle. But it sounds like this movie is closer to what people wanted to see.

I had forgotten about Nocturnal Animals. It sounded intriguing so I need to add that to my list.

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm with you. I would have preferred a Prometheus movie sequel than what was given. Alien Covenant just seemed too similar to what had been done with all the other Alien features--although I did enjoy it on some level. What's funny is they went with a movie everyone wanted to see, but it still got mixed reviews, so I don't know how successful they were. You'd think with someone like Scott's track record, he would (along with Hollywood) would just do whatever they wanted--although I understand it's a money making enterprise too...

At 1:22 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Thanks Roman & Anon--it's been so darn long since I've done this I forgot how it all works. :) Anon I agree if it's going to get mixed reviews anyway, which is about par normal these days, might as well go with your gut. However, that might not get the financial backing. Hollyweird can be a strange bedfellow.

Roman--it's hard to say what people want to see. I think they feel that they do, but then if it doesn't live up to some fantasy level in their mind they'll criticize it for that reason. It's a crap shoot really.


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